Tottenham Hotspur finished their post-season tour with another win, this time a 1-0 triumph over A-League squad Sydney FC at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney. Harry Kane grabbed the game-winner late in the first half as Spurs tried out some new formations and played some up and coming youth players.
Spurs started a similar lineup to the one they used against Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur, starting DeAndre Yedlin and Nabil Bentaleb as fullbacks, Mousa Dembele and Ryan Mason in the pivot, and Benji Stambouli and Jan Vertonghen in central defense. Harry Kane, Andros Townsend, Christian Eriksen, and Erik Lamela were the front four.
The first half started very open with both teams pushing forward trying to get a goal. No sitting back and parking the bus here; both teams wanted to score, and both teams had plenty of opportunities.
One of the best chances in the first half came from Erik Lamela, who, finding the Sydney keeper out of position attempted another rabona goal, this time a chip. The power was good, but the aim was just a little off, and the ball went wayward. Sydney had a very good chance of their own: Alex Brosque took advantage of a bad Spurs give-away from Yedlin in front of goal, rounded Lloris, and fired, but Jan Vertonghen was there to make a diving clearance off the line to prevent the goal.
The breakthrough happened in the 41st minute. Christian Eriksen, who had dropped into central midfield to collect the ball, fed a through ball to Lamela, who held the ball up well and fed Kane. Kane fired a vintage Harry Kane shot low across the goal and into the back of the net to put Spurs up 1-0. Spurs led by the same scoreline at halftime.
Spurs made four changes at halftime: Kyle Walker-Peters, Nacer Chadli, Eric Dier and Michel Vorm came on while Hugo Lloris, Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen, and Christian Eriksen made way. It was even play from both sides early in the half, with Sydney perhaps having the better part of possession. Midway through the second half Mauricio Pochettino put on the kids, with Tom Carroll, Grant Ward, and Harry Winks coming on for Townsend, Lamela, and Mason.
The second half wasn't quite as exciting as the first, but Spurs bossed the midfield and had the majority of the chances. Chadli, Winks, and Kane all had shots blocked away by Sydney's defense. Sydney had a chance to equalize late in the match but the player's open header was directed just wide. The match ended 1-0.
- This was a fun match to watch! Both teams were going for it and played positive, attacking football. Sydney isn't Premier League caliber, but they aren't a bad team.
- Just want to point out that the midfield looked pretty stagnant in the second half until Winks, Carroll, and Ward came on midway through. I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.
- Tom Carroll had another nice game in the hole. We've been a little down on him for a while after his loan to Swansea, but he's done very well in his two shifts and had some Riquelme-esque moves in there, too. Between him and Harry Winks, there are some youth options in central midfield for the Europa League group stage matches, and maybe the league.
- Harry Kane did a Harry Kane thing and scored a Harry Kane goal. But that goal was set up nicely by Eriksen and Lamela. Great teamwork. Kane was a monster throughout the game.
- DeAndre Yedlin played well, I thought. Showed his speed on several occasions, had a few nice clearances, and had a very nice tackle in the box to save a potential goal. Had one bad giveaway that led to the Brosque attempt in the first half, and some moments of questionable decision-making, but he looks like he could do a job for us next season.
- If I had to give a MOTM, I'd give it to Jan Vertonghen, who was absolutely immense in the first half. Not only defensively solid, but he had some killer long passes and played out of defense up the pitch on a couple of occasions. Good body language, too.
- The sash kit is still undefeated, fam. Full credit to the lizard people?
- One final Spurs match this summer: the MLS All-Star Game in Denver on July 29.